Episcopal Diocese of Washington
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Bishop Mariann’s Blog
Thursday, October 11, 2012
"It is exactly what we are inclined to overlook in ourselves that is often our greatest asset." -Joan Chittister, Following the Way
One of the many blessings of Christian community is the opportunity it affords us to share our gifts—the things that come easily to us that enrich the lives of others. We tend to discount what we offer if it comes easily, because we don’t feel the sacrifice that others might trying to do the same thing. But that’s the genius of community. The musicians play, the organizers organize, the teachers teach, the bakers bake, and all are fed. “It was nothing,” we say, and in part, it’s true, because the gift was as much a joy to offer as to receive.
It’s all too easy to look upon another and wish for gifts we do not possess. Even the great William Shakespeare confessed to a time when he looked upon himself and cursed his fate:
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
desiring this man’s art, and that man’s scope,
with what I most enjoy contented least.
Yet when we discount ourselves, we debase the treasures entrusted to us and abdicate the responsibility we have to live them into life. “Gifts are those precious parts of ourselves that lurk in the depths of us just waiting to be given away,” Chittister writes. “They are looking for a place to burst open, wishing for the chance, the time, encouragement and opportunity to blossom in the bright light of humanity.”
Incredibly enough, God asks us to discover and name for ourselves what we most enjoy, and then to find ways to offer what is, in truth, a gift to us as our offering to others. And when we find a way to make our offerings together, in love and in joy, the power unleashed through us can accomplish things far greater, as St. Paul writes, than we can ask for or imagine. Because it is the Spirit of God at work in us and it doesn’t even feel like work at all. It feels like a gift.
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